The women’s hockey team continues to be a divided house with factions within the team management and senior players busy showing each other in bad light instead of focusing on the preparations for the Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou, China, from November 12.
Ever since the sexual harassment allegations that resulted in the sacking of the then chief coach M K Kaushik in July, voices for “all female” coaching staff have been gaining ground and some support staff members are unhappy with coach Sandeep Somesh backing the players after an in-different display in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. The Indian women’s team, silver medallist in Melbourne, failed to live up to the favorites’ tag and could manage to only finish fifth.
“It was ridiculous on the part of the coach to praise the girls after their poor show. Instead of this, they should have been criticized. They should have asked for a better showing next time,” a team management member told HT on condition of anonymity.
“Such comments were just to cover the poor form of some girls, who are trying to operate things as per their wishes,” added the member. “If this situation continues in the Asian Games, I don’t think that we would ever be able to even come close to our previous best.”
India, who won a silver medal in 1998 Asian Games after a gap of 16 years, had finished third in the 2006 in Doha.
“In fact, we don’t have any plans to execute. Reports about the ‘inadequate coaching system’ have already sent to the sports ministry and the Sports Authority of India. We need to pull up our shocks, if we need to do well,” said a team insider. “Some girls have taken their presence in the team for granted, which has an adverse impact on team’s performance.”
The team management is even divided on the five-day break given to the girls after the CWG and the details of the preparatory camp for the Asian Games are still not decided.
“There was no need of a break to the players, especially after finishing fifth. We have to play our matches at Asian Games from November 13 and accordingly the team should reach 10 days in advance, but so far we haven’t been informed about anything,” said another team management member.
“Even if we decide to conduct the camp from next Thursday, we need to call up all the girls by tomorrow evening.”